Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Favorite Christmas Books


I’m beginning to think I have ADD. I didn’t used to be this way, but motherhood requires so much multi-tasking in general that I seem to have lost my ability to stick with something and finish it! So I have baby shower pictures, a maternity photo shoot, the next installment in my curricula series, and my November links and book list round-up all coming up this week.

Today, however, I want to share my favorite Christmas picture books so that anyone who wants to find or purchase them will have time before the Christmas season is over!

Speaking of books, I finally figured out how to add my Amazon affiliate links to book titles in my posts. I mean, it really isn’t rocket surgery (as I like to say), but I am very slow on the up-take. Seriously. This means that all my Amazon book links are now affiliate links (for full disclosure and all that). I truly appreciate those of you who purchase through my links (even if you purchase items other than my recommendations). It helps fund my book obsession my children’s education. But, guess what? I truly appreciate all my readers, even if you don’t buy through Amazon. Because of you, this blogging adventure has been a great blessing to me, and I’m thankful.

(P.S. Lola’s darling Thanksgiving dress was purchased with All About Spelling affiliate dollars. It was a huge treat for Lola and me, so thank you for purchasing through my AAS affiliate link on the side bar, as well. She will be able to wear the dress for years!)

(P.P.S. I’m sorry if you didn’t get a chance to snatch up a less expensive copy of my favorite Advent book. Several of you took me up on my recommendation, which is only available through third party sellers.)

On to the books. Oh, how I love Christmas books!



1. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, pictures by Barbara Cooney

I think it only fitting that The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story sits at the top of my list. Barbara Cooney is hands-down my favorite illustrator (see top picture), and this book tugs at my heart strings. Perfect in every way.



2. The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden, pictures by Barbara Cooney

The Story of Holly and Ivy. Did I mention my love-affair with Barbara Cooney? Her illustrations are simply magic in this tale about a little orphan named Ivy and a doll named Holly. (And having a sister named Holly and a niece named Ivy makes this story even more perfect!)



3. The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler’s Sons told by Ruth Sawyer, pictures by Barbara Cooney

(Are you sensing a pattern here?) The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler's Sons is a quirky traditional Tyrolean folktale retold by Ruth Sawyer (also the author of my most favorite Christmas chapter book). My boys love this story about Fritzl, Franzl, and Hansl.



4. Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant & Diane Goode

Christmas In The Country is a simple story about a simple Christmas. Cynthia Rylant and Diane Goode make me want to jump into the pages and live this Christmas.

“Grandfather always brought home a tree that was a little too wide or a little too tall and we would have to spend the next few weeks squeezing around it in the living room. It seemed sometimes like an embarrassed guest. But we loved that tree and couldn’t wait to turn on the lights at night. It was the prettiest thing we had.”



5. I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie

May I have two most favorite illustrators? I have never, ever met two pigs with so much personality and emotion. Holly Hobbie’s illustrations spring to charming life Toot & Puddle’s I'll Be Home for Christmas.



6. Corgiville Christmas by Tasha Tudor

I hate to tease you like this since it isn’t available for a reasonable price on Amazon, but check your library for Corgiville Christmas. I don’t think Christmas would be complete without a little Tasha Tudor on the book menu. This is a darling book about a little dog village getting ready for Christmas. Tudors sketchy illustrations are marvelous.

“On December sixth, the Bigbee Browns put up their Advent calendars and light their Advent wreath, made from boxwood greens, which do not shed needles into the teacups below, as spruce and balsam do.”

(If you want to experience the village of Corgiville (for a more reasonable price), try Corgiville Fair. It is one of my family’s most favorite picture books.)



7. Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco

I love Polacco’s stories. Christmas Tapestry is a story about Jonathan, whose family has just moved to Detroit, Michigan to pastor a rickety old church. And it makes me cry. Every. Single. Time.



8. Silent Night: The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Tim Ladwig

Another book not easily available (what is it about my book stash?), check your library for Silent Night: The Song and Its Story. The dark, rich illustrations are gorgeous.



9. Hallelujah Handel by Douglas Cowling and Jason Walker

Hallelujah Handel is the book version of Classical Kids: Hallelujah Handel!, a beautifully recorded dramatized story with musical selections. We love all of the Classical Kids series. Highly recommended.



10. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

No, it isn’t a Christmas picture book, but every child should own a copy of James Herriot's Treasury for Children. And then pull this book out every December and read “A Christmas Day Kitten.” Sob.



11. Norman Rockwell’s Christmas Book

Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book is the latest addition to our own Christmas collection. This is a 220 page book full of carols, stories, poems, recipes, and more—accompanied by the unmistakable art of Norman Rockwell.

That Holy Thing

by George MacDonald

They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high:
Thou cam’st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.

O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail!

My how or when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair,
That Thou mayst answer all my need--
Yea, every bygone prayer.


BONUS: A Classical Kids Christmas

No, it isn’t a picture book, but I mentioned the Classical Kids audio series earlier and Classical Kids Christmas is my favorite Christmas CD. It is a pageant-style dramatized recording with stories and music of Christmas from around the world and ending with the nativity story. LOVE.


(P.P.P.S. I have several “Around the World” Christmas books to share tomorrow. Come back to check them out!!)


carole said...

I love this list because it has so many new to me titles. We grew up receiving a Christmas book as a gift every year, so I have a large collection, and yet it seems that I need to branch out a bit!

My favorite Christmas book growing up was Madeline L'Engle's "The 24 Days Before Christmas," featuring the Austin family.

Danielle said...

Thank you SO much for this list. I just put all the books I've never heard of on hold at our library! :)

It seems we both adore Barbara Cooney, though. Amazingly, I've never heard of "The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler's Sons."

I've posted a list in the past as well. You might find some new titles to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Love this list, Heidi! You have the greatest resource suggestions. And, can I just say that it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only mama who feels so very ADD these days? Thank you. :-)

Skeller said...

You know I always love your book recommendations. I totally fed your affiliate linky and snagged four of the available books. And yes, I was one of those unfortunate ones who missed the lesser expensive Advent book copies. By the time I got there (and I checked a few different secondhand book sites), none were available for less than $37 :-(.

Oh, and I'm sure you've probably read this book a bazillion times, but in case you haven't, get a copy of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. makes me cry every year. and then the boys mock me. :-}

Elizabeth A. said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I bought a few and am happy to support your site with affiliate links. We have a pretty large book fetish too so everything helps.

Windhover Farm said...

Thanks for these recommendations and for posting it while we still have time to purchase before Christmas. We also like "A Christmas like Helen's" and "Christmas Day in the Morning"by Pearl Buck. Oh yes, Jonathon Toomey is beautiful.

Heidi said...

Thanks, ladies!

Danielle~ I'm enjoying poking around your blog. Lovely.

Susan~ I do love The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey. It should have been on this list! My boys aren't old enough to mock me, but I'm sure that day is coming. :)

Windhover Farm~ I just put Christmas Day in the Morning on my wish list. Maybe it will be our new Christmas book this year.

Amy said...

Terrific post! I had not heard of most of these books. Luckily, my library had a few. :)

Unknown said...

I was just starting to re-read Holly and Ivy to Caroline tonight. We both love it. Is there a particular connection between this book and your sister and niece's names?

P.S. That dress of Lola's was affiliate money well spent. It's DARLING and I hope she gets a few other occasions to wear it!

Heidi said...

Hannah~ My sister just loved the name Ivy. She got the book afterward. It is interesting to note, however, that my other niece's name is Ilex, which is Latin for Holly. :) (I purposefully bought the dress big so that she could wear it for a long time. And I tried to pick a pattern that she could wear year-round. I wanted to get my money's worth, and full enjoyment out of that fabulous dress. :))

The Vosslers said...

We just checked the Perfect Christmas Tree book out of the library this week and then I see this post! It was beautiful. My favorite part was her mom's gift. So lovely and inspiring. Those are some beautiful titles. I'll have to add them.